Stop the clocks and move aside: Nisha is in town. I wouldn’t know where to start If I were to properly introduce her. Nisha is a Bollywood celebrity, the inspiration behind the story ‘And Thereby Hangs A Tale (Caste Off)…’ by Jeffrey Archer, and so, so much more. She also happens to be a longtime friend of mine, and we spend yesterday together. As usual, I had a great time.
The thing is, I grew up surrounded by men. I studied science and was often the only girl of the classroom. I was in charge of delivering trains and upgrading signalling systems. As a result, I discovered female friendships later in life, and found out that they transcend nationalities, age and cultural backgrounds. As women, we often goes through the same phases of life, and are facing the same issues and judgements. As women, we usually understand each other better.
We went to see the Basquiat ‘Boom For Real exhibition’ yesterday. I must admit that I had been too busy to look up what was on in London, and wouldn’t have thought of going if Nisha hadn’t suggested it. And I am a West London sort of girl anyway. I hadn’t been to the Barbican centre in East London for at least a couple of years. I know, I am a bit of bore. What can I say? I am not getting any younger and all that…Needless to say, this wasn’t your average exhibition. Love it or hate it, you can’t stay indifferent. This exhibition will make you step out of your comfort zone. It’s messy, it’s colourful, it’s street art meets old masters. It looks easy to understand, and then you start asking yourself why he selected the historical figures he listed. Was he high or was he highly intelligent? Probably a bit of both.
Basquiat matters. Of course he does. His work is full of passion, energy and beauty. He captured the pulse of a raw New York that I had forgotten even existed. Did he stand a chance? His mother instilled a love for the Arts in him when he was growing up, but she was eventually committed to a mental institution. He slept rough, he was a black American and eventually did drugs. Odds were stacked against him. Still, he made the most of his short years and died shortly before turning 27 from an accidental heroin overdose. And he looks insanely happy on the pictures. The irony is that his work started as a counter culture statement, and then was absorbed into a star system that has provision for few winners. But hey, life is full of twists, right?
As for me, the works of Basquiat have provided me great pleasure, and I can’t thank my friend Nisha enough for introducing me to his world. Go and see the exhibition if you can!